Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Living Abroad Can Bring Professional Success -- If You Do It Right

07.11.2012
TAU research finds that embracing two cultures helps you climb the career ladder
“Travel broadens the mind” goes the old adage, and potential employers often agree, valuing the open-mindedness and creativity fostered by such worldliness. But according to new Tel Aviv University research, not all international experiences are created equal.

"Although living abroad does help to hone creative abilities, not all individuals who have lived abroad derive an equal benefit from such experiences," explains Dr. Carmit Tadmor of TAU’s Recanati School of Business, who conducted the study with Dr. Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Dr. William Maddux of the international graduate business school and research institution INSEAD.

The researchers discovered that the simple act of living abroad was not enough to bolster creative and professional success. The potential benefits of extended international travel depend on the ability to simultaneously identify with both home and host cultures, which the researchers call "biculturalism." Identifying with two cultures simultaneously fosters a more complex thinking style that views things from multiple perspectives and forges conceptual links among them.

“Unlike patterns of cultural identification in which individuals endorse only one of the two cultures, bicultural identification requires individuals to take into account and combine the perspectives of both old and new cultures," explains Dr. Tadmor. "Over time, this information processing capability, or ‘integrative complexity,’ becomes a tool for making sense of the world and will help individuals perform better in both creative and professional domains."

This study was recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Measuring creative and professional success
The researchers conducted three experiments to determine the impact of biculturalism when living abroad. In the first, 78 MBA students comprising 26 different nationalities at a European business school were asked to complete a series of tasks, including a standard creativity task that asked for as many uses for a brick as possible within a two-minute time limit. In the second experiment, a group of 54 MBA students comprising 18 nationalities at an American business school were asked to describe the new businesses, products, and processes they had invented during their careers. All of the study participants had lived abroad for a period of time.

The studies found that those who identified with both their host culture and their home culture consistently demonstrated more fluency, flexibility, novelty and innovation.

Finally, the third experiment extended the idea, exploring whether the biculturals’ advantages also gave them an advantage in the workplace. In this study, 100 Israelis living and working mainly in California's Silicon Valley were interviewed. The researchers found that Israelis who identified with both their home and host cultures enjoyed higher promotion rates and more positive reputations among their colleagues. Across all three studies, the researchers found that bicultural individuals ranked higher on integrative complexity tests than the other participants, and this drove their success.

Taking the hard road to success

The road to biculturalism is fraught with internal conflicts, notes Dr. Tadmor, in which two cultural identities struggle to coexist. It's much easier to surround yourself with your expat community than to straddle two separate worlds. But bypassing the conflicts means giving up the best benefits. Integrative complexity, which is responsible for creative and professional success, evolves through the repetitive resolution of these internal conflicts.

Ultimately, “it is clear that becoming a true bicultural is not easy, but it holds the key to translating foreign experiences abroad into a tangible toolbox that bolsters one’s creative ability and professional skill to the highest level," say the researchers.

George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aftau.org

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>